Iranian artist Shervin Hajipour

PEN America Denounces Sentencing Of Iranian Grammy Winner

Saturday, 03/02/2024

PEN America has strongly condemned the imprisonment of Grammy-winning Iranian vocalist Shervin Hajipour, who has been sentenced to three years and eight months behind bars.

The group has called for Hajipour's immediate release, urging the authorities to dismiss his sentence and the expunge all charges from his record.

Julie Trébault, director of Artists at Risk Connection, expressed deep concern over Hajipour's sentencing, denouncing it as another “attempt to suppress the independent voices who channel the demands of the Iranian people for basic freedoms.

“The Iranian government is attempting to silence a powerful movement spearheaded by musicians who believe in freedom and women’s rights,” added Trébault.

During Iran's parliamentary elections on Friday, Hajipour took to Instagram to share the news about his sentence, revealing his conviction on charges of "propaganda against the system" and "inciting protests." Additionally, he has been subjected to a two-year travel ban and instructed to compose a song focusing on "US crimes" while disseminating related content online.

Hajipour, known for his support of the Woman, Life, Freedom movement, gained international recognition for his protest song "Baraye" ("Because of"), which won the prestigious "Song for Social Change" at the Grammy Award. His arrest in September 2022, following the song's viral success, led to charges of inciting dissent.

The sentencing of Hajipour is part of a broader crackdown on artists and activists in Iran. According to PEN America's Freedom To Write Index, Iran ranks as the world's second-highest incarcerator of writers, with at least 57 Iranian writers arrested in 2022 alone. The international community continues to call for the protection of freedom of expression and the release of unjustly detained individuals in Iran.

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